As we near the end of 2018, I am humbled and proud as Executive Director of America SCORES New York to reflect on another incredible year.
This was the year in which we expanded to 20 schools, a new borough, and impacted over 1,000 kids across New York City. This was the year of our first ever published poetry book and SCORES 3.0 game days.
This was the year when more poet-athletes than ever brought their talents and their energy to Jamboree, Fall Frenzy and Poetry SLAM, expressing themselves through soccer, poetry and service learning and inspiring our staff, coaches, teachers and school principals in the process - not to mention their own teammates.
TEAMWORK, LEADERSHIP and COMMITMENT remains the mantra which we all strive towards but we have added an extra vital component - FAIR PLAY. Whether we are expressing ourselves on the soccer field, through our poems or out in our communities, social justice is becoming the binding force of our program.
There are so many great memories....
In February, we took 18 students to Boston for the first annual Poet's Banquet, an opportunity for our poet-athletes to meet and perform with poet-athletes from our Boston SCORES affiliate. In March we enjoyed Pancakes and Poetry in Harlem and in April, we launched our very first poetry anthology, WE ARE, I CAN.
New schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn came on board and helped us complete almost 300 games of soccer over the course of the Spring and Fall seasons.
In May, the second annual Kicking it Forward Alumni Tournament fittingly capped the inaugural year of our new high school program. We ended the Spring season on a high note with our largest ever Jamboree, bringing together 750 poet-athletes for a wonderful day of soccer and sharing. I was blown away by the depth and breadth of community projects completed by the students in just 10 weeks.
In July, SCORES Cup kicked off our summer with 500 players from 36 companies! Summer soccer and literacy programming kept the excitement going locally in Harlem, Inwood, and Brooklyn, and internationally in Russia and Haiti!
This excitement helped tide us over until our fall season that included over 800 poet-athletes, 150 soccer games, a new location for Fall Frenzy, and ended with our 15th annual Poetry SLAM, our largest yet!
Throughout 2018, we enjoyed expansion of our Executive Board and our Junior Board as well as our community of coaches, who are some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. My team grew too and it has been a particular pleasure to watch the energy for our program develop with every passing month.
This commitment to our poet-athletes and to our mission was steadfast from the Harris Family Charitable Foundation, GFP Real Estate, the Pinkerton Foundation, the New York Community Trust Heisman Trophy Fund, and the West Harlem Development Corporation, who provide our students with the chance to better themselves on the field, in the classroom, and throughout the community. For them, and all of our amazing partners, we could not be more grateful.
Despite our widening reach throughout New York City, our impact has not faltered. America SCORES New York poet-athletes are more confident, more committed to their education, and more aware of the impact they can have on their community. Our unique partnership with the DOE allowed us to complete a second year of academic analysis which shows our poet-athletes scoring 20% higher than district averages on key state tests.
Their personal growth is not limited to the classroom or to the field, but has become incorporated into their physical and emotional health, as they become more engaged members of their teams, schools, and communities.
Thank you for your support throughout 2018 and I am excited to share more exciting updates in 2019!
"Before this, I was just a girl going to school / But now, I am in America SCORES!" Kyana, PS 66